50 thoughts on “News/Politics 3-21-18

  1. Looks like the Austin bomber, an as yet unidentified 24 yr. old white male, took his own life as police closed in.

    https://www.statesman.com/news/breaking-austin-bombing-suspect-dies-police-close-official-says/KZmUAGvKlNazDr31EzeUzI/

    “The suspect in a string of bombings in Austin is dead, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley confirmed early Wednesday.

    Investigators identified several leads but the case really broke in the past 24 to 36 hours, Manley said.

    The chief described how authorities tracked down the suspect’s vehicle to a Round Rock-area hotel. Police began following the suspect’s vehicle, and as SWAT approached, the suspect detonated a bomb in the car, Manley said.

    The name of the suspect, described only as a 24-year-old white man, has not been released, pending notification of his family, Manley said.

    Although police are still investigating the possibility of accomplices, he said, “we believe this individual is responsible for all of the incidents in Austin.””

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  2. In high school we had a Student Council but not a Special Council.

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  3. Good discussion yesterday about the opioid crisis. I was comparing the stats for opioid death with the violent crime stats and found something very interesting. The opioid death rate does not track with the violent crime rates. For example, the murder/rape/violent assault rates in Texas are significantly higher than is found in all of New England combined, yet the opioid death rate is low in Texas and much higher in the New England states. Tennessee rates are more intuitively accurate, as they are high in both opioid death and violent crimes categories.

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-2

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  4. Interesting take.
    Morning Joe on MSNBC and Fox & Friends on Fox are telling about the Austin bomber.
    CNN is telling us about a porn star allegations against Trump.
    I’m convinced, I wouldn’t vote for Trump unless he were running against Hillary, or anyone else I see in the Democratic lineup.
    Certainly not Oprah or Pocahontas. .

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  5. Debra, Just put two and two together:
    High Violent crime? The state has a high number of blacks.
    High opioid deaths? The state has a high number of lightly educated whites.

    Some states have both, some have neither and some have one or the other.

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  6. Texas absolutely has many blacks. Remember slavery. The part of Texas east of I-35 (the populated area) was settled before the War. It is part of The Old South.

    SolarP, Study yesterday’s data. Debra found it interesting. You may also.

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  7. Ricky W. I did look at your demographics links. Why not just type a few sentences that show how any of them depict the…*POLITICAL LEANINGS*… of opioid users. “You just need to interpret things my way” isn’t really an argument.

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  8. Debra, Compare Texas and Tennessee and you can come up with some interesting conclusions. Also look at nationwide crime stats by race.

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  9. High opioid deaths? The state has a high number of lightly educated whites.

    This isn’t good smarts. It’s simplistic, and doesn’t really say anything, in and of itself. Opioid death rates by state largely mirror overall drug overdose death rates by state, and where they don’t, there’s not really any political correlation one way or other.

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  10. Now, now, Ricky W, you know better than this. Just provide a study that shows the…(typing slowly) POLITICAL LEANINGS of opioid users.

    Did you know opioids are more expensive than most street drugs?

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  11. Interesting questions Michelle.
    Whatcha wanna bet nobody, even Republicans, in authority ever turns over those rocks.

    Can you even imagine Hillary on trial?

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  12. What Ricky ignores, is the obvious.

    Of course “lightly educated” to use his term, would have higher instances of opioid use and abuse. They are the folks busting their butts at back breaking work, day in and day out, often while already injured from work, so they are more likely to have injuries needing opioids in the first place.

    The desk jockeys, lawyers, those in management, don’t go much for manual labor, so they have less likelihood of needing painkillers due to a work related injury.

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  13. Many of the desk jockeys did manual labor to put themselves through school where they learned statistics and other subjects. Many of the desk jockeys see who is now doing the hard work. It is the Mexicans, not the Trumpers. Read Hillbilly Elegy and other similar books. Opioid addiction is associated with idleness not work.

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  14. Does it hurt when you fall down from all the mental gymnastics you attempt?

    “Opioid addiction is associated with idleness not work.”

    —————————————-

    From a couple of the links above….

    “The impact on workers’ compensation

    How is the workers compensations industry being impacted as a result of the growing opioid epidemic? According to Healthesytems, a medical cost management provider, the use of opioids in workers’ compensation has risen over the past decade along with the cost of medications.

    Mitchell International, a medical claims processor, further outlines the challenge:

    • More than $6 billion is spent on prescription drugs in the workers’ compensation field on an annual basis, representing approximately 19% of overall medical costs.

    • Nearly 70% of pain drugs prescribed are opioids, a third of overall prescriptions.

    • Individuals using opioids over an extended time may experience tolerance, leading to a higher dose to obtain the same level of pain relief. This often leads to escalating doses of opioids over time.

    • Higher doses for extended periods are associated with higher rates of dependence, higher rates of addiction, poor health outcomes and significantly higher claims cost.
    Most experts agree: There has never been a more profound impact on the cost of workers’ compensation claims from a single issue than the abuse of opioid prescriptions for the management of chronic pain.”
    ————————

    “WCRI’s research found that the highest utilization of opioids on a long-term basis was in Louisiana and New York. The report also noted that despite limitations on dispensing opioids to injured workers, between 55 to 85 percent have received an opioid prescription in those states.”

    “California has seen a large increase in opioid prescriptions over the last decade, according to CWCI, which has been tracking opioid usage in workers’ comp for the past eight years.

    Between 2002 and 2011 CWCI tracked a 300 percent increase in opioids, according to CWCI President Alex Swedlow.”
    ——————–

    “There are close to 40,000 drug overdose drug deaths each year in the United States, and the number continues to rise, according to CDC’s latest statistics, which show more than half of overdose deaths involve prescription drugs and that opioid-related deaths now exceed deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined.

    “Drug overdoses, the deaths, are more numerous than motor vehicle crash deaths in the United States,” Paulozzi said. “And it’s gone up for 11 consecutive years as of 2010. We’ve called it an epidemic, drug overdoses, and it’s a high priority topic here at the CDC.”

    Paulozzi views the drug problem as being potentially more prevalent among the injured worker population.

    “The overdose rate is highest among people of working age, that is middle-age people,” he said.

    Further exacerbating the problem is that many work-related injuries occur to the back, for which doctors are increasingly prescribing opioids both short-term and long-term to address pain, despite broad medical recommendations against long-term use of such painkillers in back cases, according to Paulozzi.

    “There’s an awful lot of back injuries in the workers’ comp population and subsequent surgery related to back problems, and back pain is one of the most common indications now of use of opioids in the United States,” he said. “And it’s being used frequently for back pain and it’s being used long-term for back pain.”

    Hear a podcast with CDC’s Paulozzi talking about the opioid epidemic.

    Paulozzi backed his statements by citing guidelines from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and guidelines about to be approved by Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries, which address when opioids should be used, and how long they should be used.

    “They notice in their past histories that 42 percent of workers with back injuries got an opioid prescription in the first year after injury – most of the time after the first medical visit,” Paulozzi said. “But one year after the injury, 16 percent of those workers were still getting opioids.””

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  15. SolarP, Go back to Intro to Statistics and adjust for population differences.
    and
    SolarP, Like California has more people than West Virginia. Hint. Hint.

    For the record, no kidding. I already ordered the list by age-adjusted Rate, ‘Rate’ being the only useful ordering category. By that measure, as I said above, “Of the top 10 states in opioid deaths, six (with Maryland and DC counted as one) voted Hillary, four voted Trump.”

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  16. SolarP,

    1. Look at the list of opioid deaths per state.
    2. Divide each state’s deaths by the population of the state to get opioid death per capita (age has nothing to do with it) for each state.
    3. List the states in order of opioid deaths per capita.

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  17. Ricky, your link already does that work for us. The ‘Rate’ is the number of deaths per 100,000 people. And yes, age-adjusted. Of course age has something to do with it. Why do you think your link used an age-adjusted rate? It makes a note of it: “Rates displayed in the table are age-adjusted rates per 100,000 population.”

    Here’s a little bit as to why that matters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_adjustment

    Standardization, my man. It’s all in that “Intro to Statistics” class you recommended to me.

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  18. Thanks, SolarP. I had not seen the “rate” chart on my own link yesterday. The breakdown is most helpful. The epidemic is clearly largely a White Yankee epidemic. We saw yesterday that it also disproportionately hits the lightly educated.

    Hmm. Lightly educated white Yankees? Rhymes with pumpkins?

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  19. Just a note on the opioid crisis. According to the U.S. government, “Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.” (https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates). Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid (i.e. it is synthesized from a chemical recipe, rather than extracted from opium poppy seeds the way morphine, codeine, or heroin is), and there are two sources for the fentanyl that is cut into products and sold on the street – one is theft from legal medical stores of the substance (whether it is a patient with a legal prescription who is robbed or a pharmaceutical store that is plundered); the other is by direct order from manufacturers in China who actually have altered the chemical composition of medicinal fentanyl to make it even more potent. The Globe and Mail wrote an article about trying to trace the source of this potent and deadly form of fentanyl: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/a-killer-high-how-canada-got-addicted-tofentanyl/article29570025/. As the article notes, this altered fentanyl is often combined with other street drugs, such as heroin. That can lead to situations where someone takes what they think is heroin, but ends up overdosing because of the fentanyl in the heroin.

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  20. White Yankee as in, say, Hillary’s Connecticut, where whites accounted for 30 deaths per 100,000, and non-whites accounted for 34 per 100,000? In a state where 77% of the population is white? White are underrepresented there.

    Connecticut ranks 9th in opioid morality rate. In overall drug overdose mortality it falls way down to…12th. That’s a difference in about 1.5 persons per 100,000.

    Number one on the list of states for opioid death rates is West Virginia, a state with 93% white population. Yet whites don’t even account for half the opioid death rate there. Those rates are 44 for whites and 46 for blacks. Rhymes with shmunderrepresentation.

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  21. So Solar P likes to cherry pick. There are fifty states. Are opioid rates generally higher in individual Yankee states than in the nation as a whole? What are the rates for those white Yankees compared to the nation as a whole? Remember, this is even before we include the lightness of the education of the Trumpers as a factor.

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  22. No, rickyweaver, you’re the one cherry picking, not to mention making careless conclusions from very tenuous associations. You still haven’t shown any data that details the (re-re-repeating myself again) POLITICAL LEANINGS of those who overdose on opioids. Cantcha just do that now?

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  23. Thought exercise: Let’s say a state voted for Trump by a margin of 7 to 3. That’s a pretty significant 70% voting bloc. For almost any state (maybe all of ’em), that still leaves multiple millions of people who a) voted for hillary and a1) are ALSO lightly educated, non-white. And we’re talking about a few HUNDRED opioid deaths, with no data on the actual political inclinations of those people who died, on which Ricky bases his Trumpkin opioid thing here.

    That, friends, is cherry picking, par excellence.

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  24. Yankee states for SloarP to look at: Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont all have opioid death rates well above the national average. Then look at the rates by race within those states. It is disproportionately a white Yankee problem.

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  25. SloarP is close enough for the internet.

    RickyW: I am eager to take a look at the data on those states. In the meantime, can you tell me why you conclude that the voting proclivities (or political affiliations or whatever it is you’re attributing to “Trumpism”–which isn’t clear at all)…can you tell me how you know those who overdose are Trumpkins? How do you know they didn’t vote for Hillary? How do you know they voted or cared in the least?

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  26. Mr. Lacks Candor is in the news again.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/exclusive-fired-fbi-official-authorized-criminal-probe-sessions/story?id=53914006

    “Nearly a year before Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired senior FBI official Andrew McCabe for what Sessions called a “lack of candor,” McCabe oversaw a federal criminal investigation into whether Sessions lacked candor when testifying before Congress about contacts with Russian operatives, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

    Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly accused Sessions of misleading them in congressional testimony and called on federal authorities to investigate, but McCabe’s previously-unreported decision to actually put the attorney general in the crosshairs of an FBI probe was an exceptional move.

    One source told ABC News that Sessions was not aware of the investigation when he decided to fire McCabe last Friday less than 48 hours before McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, was due to retire from government and obtain a full pension, but an attorney representing Sessions declined to confirm that.

    Last year, several top Republican and Democratic lawmakers were informed of the probe during a closed-door briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and McCabe, ABC News was told.”

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  27. Solar P, I cannot know whether a particular opioid abuser voted for Trump or Hillary. However, the data shows that the same demographic characteristics that make a person more likely to be an opioid abuser also make that person more likely to be a Trumper.

    Similarly I cannot know if a certain armed robber is a Hillary supporter. However, the same demographic characteristics that make a person more likely to be an armed robber also make that person more likely to be a Hillary voter.

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  28. Its highly unlikely there is any specific demographic attached to opioid addiction. And Its also highly unlikely most opioid addicts actually vote. They’re not soccer moms or any other target demographic.

    However, the Austin suicide bomber and other young white terrorists might be a target demographic of the Trump campaign office.

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  29. Mississippi just passed a 15 week abortion law since put on hold. The governor stated he wanted Mississippi to be the safest place for an unborn child. Unfortunately Mississippi is most unsafe place for a newly unborn child — the highest infant mortality rate in the country. I think the governor needs to have a safe and healthy environment for children to grow up and flourish.

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